A quick summary of emailing tips:

Answer ​Who, What, & When​: Who are you? What are you interested in? When can you meet?
In cold emails, be ​OVERT
V​ery quick to respond

Now picture this: after emailing {dream alum}, you finally get an email back! They’re willing to chat!

Cue first date jitters.

Before you reply right away, here are some tips to help you Zoom through these online interviews.

Give Yourself Some Prep Time:
Zoom, Google Meet and other platforms are tricksters. Give yourself 2-5 minutes to test your tech in case there are any technical difficulties, or if you need to sign in.

Set Yourself Up for Success:
Ensure that your computer placement is set up so you are in the center of the screen and you are close enough for the interviewer to see your body language. Place your computer on a desk instead of your lap/couch, and ensure you have good lighting. Make sure your background isn’t distracting, messy, or inappropriate.

Wear Prof(Ish)-onal Attire:
Jump out of your pjs and comb your hair. Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you can show up in sweats.

If you’re interviewing for a job, break out a blazer!

Do Your Research:
Research your alum on QuakerNet, BenConnect LinkedIn, Google, etc.
Try to find information related to: their line of work, their hobbies, the groups they were in at Penn, where they’re from, what they did post-Penn, etc.

DON’T use questions you have the answers to! Don’t ask WHAT — ask WHY and HOW questions.
For example, don’t ask what the alum studied; ask WHY they studied that. Same goes for clubs, careers, countries they’ve visited, and just about everything else.

Jot down at least 5+ questions down in a notes doc or on paper before you start your conversation.

Side Tip: These skills are applicable for internship interviews too! Get creative and ask your employer a thought-provoking question or two about themselves and why they joined the company. Here are some examples.

Build Rapport

This is one of the only times when getting down to business may not be the best idea. Start off with chitchat; comment on common interests. Heck, even comment on how awkward it is that you’re using Zoom. Humanize yourself to the alumni; they are people. Alternatively, notice and inquire about something interesting in the background.

HW for this week:
Pick one alum and prepare 5 questions for them.
Post an Insta pic flaunting your cleaned-up desk set-up and tag @pennindc!

Next post: after the interview.